The Staphylococcal Cassette Chromosome mec type V from Staphylococcus aureus ST398 is packaged into bacteriophage capsids

Monika A. Chlebowicz, Ivana Mašlaňová, Lucie Kuntová, Hajo Grundmann, Roman Pantůček, Jiří Doškař, Jan Maarten van Dijl*, Girbe Buist

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Staphylococcal Cassette Chromosome mec (SCCmec) confers methicillin resistance to Staphylococcus aureus. While SCCmec is generally regarded as a mobile genetic element, the precise mechanisms by which large SCCmec elements are exchanged between staphylococci have remained enigmatic. In the present studies, we observed that the clinical methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) isolate UMCG-M4 with the sequence type 398 contains four prophages belonging to the serological groups A, B and Fa. Previous studies have shown that certain serological group B bacteriophages of S. aureus are capable of generalized transduction. We therefore assessed the transducing capabilities of the phages from strain UMCG-M4. The results show that some of these phages can indeed transduce plasmid pT181 to the recipient S. aureus strain RN4220. Therefore, we also investigated the possible involvement of these transducing phages in the transmission of the large SCCmec type V (5C2&5) element of S. aureus UMCG-M4. While no transduction of the complete SCCmec element was observed, we were able to demonstrate that purified phage particles did contain large parts of the SCCmec element of the donor strain, including the methicillin resistance gene mecA. This shows that staphylococcal phages can encapsulate the resistance determinant mecA of a large SCCmec type V (5C2&5) element, which may lead to its transfer to other staphylococci.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)764-774
Number of pages11
JournalInternational journal of medical microbiology
Volume304
Issue number5-6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2014

Keywords

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • ST398
  • SCCmec
  • Transduction
  • Phage
  • MOBILE GENETIC ELEMENTS
  • METHICILLIN RESISTANCE
  • PATHOGENICITY ISLAND
  • COMPLETE GENOMES
  • TRANSDUCTION
  • SCCMEC
  • STRAIN
  • PROPHAGES
  • VIRULENCE
  • DIFFERENTIATION

Cite this